cularly that of SweetGum, Cypres,and Cedar, so that they are warm and tight, and will keep firm again st all Weathers. In the Top of the Roof is left a Hole to let out the Smoak, under which, in the middle of the Cabbin, is their Fire; in the Sides is left a Hole or two for Light, and a Door at one End; round the Cabbin are fixed to the Walls broad Benches of split Cane, laying thereon Matts or Skins, on which they sleep. Their State-Cabbins, for the Reception of Embassadors, and other publick Transactions, are built with greater Magnificence, being loftier, and of far larger Dimensions, the Inside being hung with Matts of Rushes or Cane, as is also the Wigwam of the King, and some others of prime Note.

They have also Houses for the Summer, which are built more open and airy, which in sultry Weather they sleep in. A Town of Totero Indians, seated on Meherin River, is built with strong Posts or Trees drove into the Ground close to one another, the Interstices being stopt up with Moss, and covered with the Bark of the sweet Gum-Tree; from two of which Trees, being bereav'd of their Bark, I gathered more than my Hat full of the fragrant Rosin that trickles from between the Bark and the Wood, and by the Heat of the Sun condenses to a Resemblance of transparent Amber.


Of their Arts and Manufactures.

Arts amongst the Indians are confined to a very narrow Compass, the Business of their Lives being War and Hunting, they trouble themselves with little else deeming it ignominious for a Coccorous,that is, a War-Captain, or good Hunter, to do mechanick Works, except what relates to War or Hunting, the rest they leave to the Women and sorry Hunters. Their Canoes are made of Pine or Tulip Trees, which (before they had the Use of English Tools) they burned hollow, scraping and chipping them with Oyster-shells and Stone-Hatchets. Their Matts are neatly made of Rushes, and serve them to lie on and hang their Cabbins with; they also make very pretty Baskets of Rushes and Silk-grafs, dy'd of various Colours and Figures, which are made by the Indians of Virginia, and those inhabiting further North. But the Baskets made by the more Southern Indians, particularly the Choctaughs and Chigasaws, are exceeding neat and strong and is one of their Master-pieces in Mechanicks. These are made of Cane in different Forms and Sizes, and beautifully dy'd black and red, with various Figures; many of them are so close wrought that they will hold Water, and are frequently used by the Indians for the Purposes that Bowls and Dishes are put to. But that which they are more especially useful for to the English Inhabitants is for Portmantuas, which being made in that Form are as commodious, and will keep out Wet as well as any made of Leather. The Principal of their Cloath-Manufacture is made of the inner Bark of the wild Mulberry, of which the Women make for themselves Petticoats and other Habits. This Cloth, as well as their Baskets, is likewise adorned with Figures of Animals represented in Colours; its Substance and Durableness recommends it for Floor and Table-Carpets. Of the Hair of Buffelo's, and sometimes that of Rackoons, they make Garters and Sashes, which they die black and red; the fleshy Sides of the Deer-skins and other Skins which they wear, are painted black, red and yellow, which in Winter they wear on the out-side, the hairy Side being next their Skins. Those who are not good Hunters d refs Skins, make Bowls, Dishes, Spoons, Tobacco-Pipes, with other domestick implements. The Bowls of their Tobacco-Pipes are whimsically, tho' very neatly made, and polished, of black, white, green, red, and gray Marble, to which they fix a Reed of a convenient Length. These Manufactures are usually transported to some remote Nations, who having greater Plenty of Deer and other Game, our neighbouring Indians barter these Commodities for their raw Hides with the Hair on, which are brought Home and dressed by the sorry Hunters. The Method of dressing their Skins is by soaking them in Deer's Brains tempered with Water, scraping them with an Oyster-shell till they become soft and pliable. Maiz, when young, and beat to a Pulp, will effect the same as the Brains; then they cure them with Smoak, which is performed by digging a Hole in the Earth, arching it over with Hoop-sticks, over which the Skin is laid, and under that is kindled a flow Fire, which is continued till it is smoaked enough.


Of their Hunting

Before the Introduction of Fire-Arms amongst the American Indians, (though Hunting was their principal Employment) they made no other Use of the Skins of Deer, and other Beasts, than to cloath themselves, their Carcasses, for Food, probably, then being of as much Value to them as the Skins; but as they now barter the Skins to the Europeans for other Cloathing and Utensils they were before unacquainted with, so the Use of Guns has enabled them to slaughter far greater Numbers of Deer and other Animals than they did with their primitive Bows and Arrows. This Destruction of Deer and other Animals being chiefly for the Sake of their Skins, a small Part of the Venison they kill suffices them; the Remainder is left to rot, or becomes a Prey to the Wolves, Panthers, and other voracious

xi
next page previous page